Free Race Entry Giveaway!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Drum Roll Please... My 2016 New Year's Resolutions Are...

I recently wrote an article with a few tips to aid in realistically choosing and narrowing down New Year's Resolutions. Of course since running and parenting are my layperson expertise areas, my personal goals tend to center around those two subjects. This year is no different.

But before I get to my new goals for 2016, I'd like to revisit my New Year's Resolutions from last year. This is always a little scary, but I am a big believer in accountability through unfiltered publication on the World Wide Web... so here we go!

For more in depth discussion of my 2015 goals throughout this past year you can click here, herehere, or here but below is a recap of how my goals from this last year went:
1. Run at least 15 miles per week. Check! Overall, I averaged about 17.0 miles per week this year, which is great considering that I had a few  significant injuries. I had a stress fracture last February and shoulder surgery this past December; so all in all, I am content to mark this one as accomplished. 
2. Complete the I 35 Challenge. Check! I did this! If you missed it, read about it here.
3. Eat lower carbohydrate until at least spring break, hopefully making this change a life choice. Well, I made it past spring break, through the summer, but then when training got serious in the fall I had to add more carbohydrates in. Admittingly, this is something I have struggled with these last few months. But the goal was through spring break, so I technically accomplished it. Life change... still working on that one. But I have to admit, eating low carb is hard when you are training for a race. As a runner this was a hard goal to accomplish- I simply need more carbs now.
4. Less mindless, time draining, useless playing on my phone. We started No Cell Phone Sunday in our house this year and it has been a huge success with getting the kids off of their devices more! I personally am better too, but I have a ways to go. This one will make the list again in 2016. I guess I'm technically on a two year plan...
5. Pray more. Yes I did pray more, but not as much as I was hoping for. I guess I am still working on this one, but I did go to confession this year for the first time in... (too long to admit out loud to you unless you are my priest)... a long time. So that is a step in the right direction I suppose! 
Overall, I am happy with the outcome of these goals, ready to close the chapter on them, and excited start a new chapter for 2016.

After much contemplation, I have decided on four goals (in no particular order):

1. Update my original, family blog more regularly. Since starting MamaGottaRun my family blog, which serves as my online scrapbook, has been set aside. I plan to revive this blog, if only for an online scrapbook to hold memories for my family.

2. I will run 1000 miles. I would love for that to include two marathons (maybe in one month??) but I need to see how my physical health is going before I include that last part. Two injuries in 2015 meant two months off from running and it really impacted my training. I don't know, that might be too crazy. I'll leave the goal at running 1000 miles, and then if two full marathons in one year happens that would be icing on the cake. I signed up for a free challenge at this link if you are interested in checking it out.

3. Take overall care of myself. Eat cleaner (including keeping a food journal ALL YEAR!), drink less soda, sleep more, spend more time with my husband, do things I want to do... just take care of me. As a mom I often let my needs slide and I don't want to do that anymore. I need to be at my best for me in order to be at my best for by kids and husband.

4. Once again, play on my phone less! Good grief I am addicted. I have a goal of not playing on HitItRich from January 1 until after Lent. I did it last year and I'm going to try again. 

And that's it! I will update you periodically on my progress. What are your goals? I'd love to know! Comment at the bottom of this post. I'm interested to read what you are going to accomplish this year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Guest Post: A Supernova Surrounded by Ordinary Stars

After reading a touching Facebook post a few weeks ago from an acquaintance I hoped that she would be willing to share some of her parenting journey on my blog. With much gratitude I am happy to publish her thoughtful, sometimes painfully honest, yet beautiful story here. Among the many hats she wears, Staci Mayo is a college instructor, fighter of MS, but most importantly, the mother of a Supernova Daughter.

Staci and her beautiful daughter.

A couple days ago I posted about my beautiful daughter on my Facebook page. Obviously, it’s not the first time I posted about my daughter on my page. I am the typical mother that annoys all of the Facebook world that does not have kids with my daughter’s picture of the first day of school, art projects, gingerbread houses, and sometimes our wacky selfies that we like to take. That day, I felt like I needed to use my words to express all of the rush of emotions I was feeling at the time. Here’s what I wrote:

Next week, I will find out if my little girl is on the autism spectrum. This is something that I believe I already know the answer to.

Since she was a baby I knew she was different. She wouldn't sleep in her crib. For 6 months she would only sleep in her swing or the car. She could be snoozing in her carrier and would immediately know when we walked into a store like Walmart. When she was a toddler, other parents would tell their kids not to play with her because she played too rough.

Every morning before preschool was a fight because her shoes and socks didn't feel right. Some days I would have to just throw her over my shoulder while she was having a fit and put her in the car and hope that she would calm down before we got to the school. We sat in the breezeway of the preschool with her refusing to put her shoes on so many times. There were times that I just had to let her throw her fits while everyone watched and gave me dirty looks. 

Sometimes I would sit and cry with her.

Many people think that it's an issue of bad parenting. I can assure you that I am not a perfect parent, but no amount of perfect parenting will prevent an overloaded child from having a meltdown. Now, my little girl is growing up at those fits are occurring less. The anxiety shows in different ways. She is now recognizing that kids are cruel and hurtful. She feels misunderstood on a regular basis whether it's other kids or adults.

As a parent you want to protect your child from every hurt, but you know that if you protect them you are making it impossible for them to survive in the world. So next week when I find out the answer I already knew, I only get confirmation that my daughter is a supernova surrounded by ordinary stars. She is brilliant, intense, and amazing. If she manages to find the tools to cope amongst the ordinary stars, then no one will be able to outshine her.

This post led to a string of reassurances that my daughter would be ok. I suddenly felt like my daughter often feels, very misunderstood. The posts made me think that people perceived that I was worried about the diagnosis. The idea of the diagnosis just makes sense to me. It clicks. It’s like putting in that last piece of the puzzle. It is comforting, reassuring, and a relief.

That’s not to say I haven’t been worried about her, or even doubted myself. I can’t even describe the number of times that I have felt completely hopeless, like a bad parent, like every single step I’m taking is the wrong step. I know this is probably a normal part of parenting but when your child is screaming and on the verge of a meltdown and you look around an all you see are the laser like stares of the people walking past you, then it intensifies the whole moment. When outsiders tell you to, “Shut your kid up!” or even people that know her well tell you, “You can’t handle your child,” then you doubt yourself.

Even though I knew my daughter was different since she was a baby, professionals told me to “Just wait.” They wanted me to just wait and see if she grew out of it. It was clear in kindergarten that she hadn’t grown out of it. At that point she ended up with the diagnosis of ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Sensory Processing Disorder. Those diagnoses reminded me that while everyday can be a challenge, that we are doing the best we can. The diagnoses gave us the ability to find and use tools and techniques that make our lives much easier.

In those moments that everything is falling apart, it’s hard to remember that my daughter is different. It can be hard to remember that she’s not being difficult just to be difficult. She’s always just been too intense for her little body and can’t hold it all in. I am very confident that my daughter will be perfectly fine in this world. She will have ups and downs. Her ups and downs just might be a little bit more intense. She will need to surround herself with people that recognize and accepts her quirks. She will need to surround herself with people that see her as a brilliant supernova. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Shoulder Surgery Recovery: What I've Learned So Far

As my much anticipated shoulder surgery has come and gone, there are several things that I've learned during the first week of recovery.

You can't count on having time to prepare post-operation.
I thought I had a good plan. I thought I'd have time to cross off the last few post op and Christmas preparations from my list. Of course I had a long list that needed accomplished the day before surgery, including buying a few more Christmas presents, planning for school Christmas parties, buying groceries, buying the items I would need after surgery (ice packs, medications, etc.), and cleaning the house before nearly two weeks of helpers and guests would be visiting or staying with us. Two nights before my surgery my two oldest children tandem vomited or had diarrhea all night long. Absolutely disgusting. But this meant that my final day before surgery was spent washing sheets, emptying puke buckets and staying home with three young children, 2 of whom where very sick with the flu. No errands or shopping for me.

MRIs aren't always correct.
According to my MRI, I had been told that I had a torn rotator cuff and needed rotator cuff repair. So, accordingly, I researched rotator cuff surgery and recovery until I was blue in the face and I knew absolutely everything about the type of surgery I'd be having and what to expect post surgery. If you know me, you know I like to be prepared. I even watched many videos of the actual surgery being performed. This helped ease my anxiety some.

Well imagine my surprise when I woke up from anesthesia to find that I did not need rotator cuff surgery after all. In fact, my rotator cuff "tear" was really only about 10-15% damaged, and more frayed than torn really. I, obviously under anesthesia, never spoke with the surgeon after surgery, but my husband did. No one gave him any printed materials, and the doctor was using strange medical terminology, so my spouse really couldn't remember what was said to him about what type of surgery was performed. Something about "debride" maybe, and that the recovery from the surgery wouldn't be as bad as what we thought.

And that was it. I had had surgery but didn't really know what was performed exactly.

So for the first 5 days I had no idea what I was supposed to do. How careful should I be? What kind of pain is normal? What restrictions should I be following?  It wasn't until my five day post operation appointment that I learned the true diagnosis. Turns out I had a raging case of Synovitis in my joint which required "limited debridement and a partial synovectomony." So basically instead of stitching/anchoring my rotator cuff, they cleaned out the portion of it that was frayed and actually removed a portion of my synovial joint cushion. This is great recovery news because it means only 3 weeks off of running and only a month of PT after that. I guess I'll have to get back to you on the success of the procedure. From what I have found online (see links above), this procedure was a way of fixing the symptom of pain and stiffness, but probably not the problem itself. Only time will tell. 

All the (synovial) tissue in these images was removed. Everything
was supposed to be white, not red, so this was all taken out. This chronic inflammation was apparently the culprit of my pain and stiffness these last 7 months.

It is possible to choke almost to literal death on a sip of soda.
I came as close to dying as I think I ever have within just a few minutes of stepping into my house post-surgery. Prior to my surgery I had agreed to a nerve block which was administered through my neck. This was supposed to really kick in a few hours post surgery and was intended to offer significant pain relief for the first day while at home (my surgery was at 7:30 AM). After it started to wear off I was told that I could start my wonderful prescription for Percocet likely in the evening. Sounds manageable right?

First of all, the nerve block didn't work well for me. Although groggy, the last thing I remember the nurse telling my husband as we were leaving the recovery room to head home was something along the lines of, "I don't think her block worked very well because she should be completely pain-free and she is ranking her pain at a 5-6 so start those pain meds as soon as you can." Great, lucky me.

Well no one told me that a side effect was that in about 15% of patients a complication is that the throat and layrnx can also go numb which can make breathing, swallowing or talking very difficult. So you can imagine my surprise when I tried to digest a much needed Percocet and found that I couldn't swallow. Instead the fizzy soda went down the wrong pipe and the pill sat in the back of my dry throat. Panicking ensued. No worries, I'll just cough. Nope, I don't have the ability to cough either. Okay, I'll cry for help. Oh wait, my layrnx doesn't work- I can't get any sound out. Luckily my husband was there and although we were freaking out and not sure what to do, tears streaming down my face, I was able to calm down and focus on breathing. Eventually, I somehow got the Percocet down my throat (basically relaxing enough to just pour it down with water). My Dear Husband sat with me a few hours, jumped up every time I tried to let out a whimper of a cough or squeak of a word, and basically watched me constantly, afraid I was going to stop being able to breathe if I fell asleep.

I guess it was a good thing the nerve block didn't work well because after a few hours, my neck, head and face started to have some feeling again. If you want to sort of know what the numbness was like, imagine Novocain for a dental filling times a million- and in your entire head and throat. Not very comfortable when you know it is only supposed to be making your shoulder numb.

We probably should have gone to the ER, but a quick online search revealed that this complication should only last a few hours so we toughed it out. I am a little disappointed I wasn't warned of this at all, but we got through it.

Let others help.
So many wonderful people have called, emailed, texted, stopped by and included me in their prayers. My mother- and father-in-law came to watch the kids and care for me the first few days after surgery. After a few days they drove the kids back to Iowa where they and my parents are taking turns watching them so I can recover childfree for a few more days. So many more people sent flowers or brought food over to us since I am physically limited for a few more weeks. It is hard for me to just sit and watch my husband as he washes the dishes, makes meals, washes the laundry, etc, but he has not complained once. NOT ONCE. I am so thankful for him. He insists that I do nothing so that I can let my shoulder heal.

Face-time with my kiddos a state away while I recover.

You will have restrictions.
So at my 5 day post-op check up I was told:
DO normal daily activities like brushing my teeth and making a snack as I can with my right arm. If I have pain stop immediately.
DO keep taking over-the-counter pain/inflammation reducers as needed.
DO the PT mobility exercises given to me three times per day.
DO keep an eye on the area where the stitches were removed, one site is a little irritated.
DO NOT wear my sling much anymore.
DO NOT lift anything heavy, at all (!!) with my right arm for at least 2 more weeks.
DO NOT walk or run for two more weeks, but DO use an exercise bike if I absolutely feel I cannot take a few more weeks off, but only if I am feeling great and have NO pain whatsoever (I'm not pain free yet so I'm holding off on this one).

I forgot to ask about driving but online says 1-2 more weeks off so I'm going to wait until my next follow-up appointment in 2 weeks. I'm not taking prescription pain medication much anymore but I do not want to irritate my joint at all so waiting is good.

Shoulder surgery is painful.
I can't imagine not having prescription pain medication for the first few days after surgery. As far as my current pain level (5 days after surgery)... I have 2 extra strength Tylenol in my system and I still have a constant nagging, discomfort in my shoulder (that is while resting, definitely more when I use it in certain angles). I'd say maybe a 3 with medication, definitely still there. I am thinking about taking 1/2 or 1 Percocet when it wears off so that I can get some things done around the house with less pain.

That's it for now, I'll keep you updated in another week.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Just One More Week to Enter: Free Race Entry to the @Garmin Marathon, Half Marathon or 10K

*This giveaway has ended and winners have been notified through email.

During the 2014 Wickedly Fast Half.
I think you can see hail bouncing off
the pavement! (Photo courtesy Action Sports Images)

Why haven't you entered yet? Did you know you can enter multiple times and then once per day after that? Have you shared this giveaway with your friends, family members, or just random runners you stop on the street? Okay I might not suggest that last one but seriously folks, any runner in the Midwest would be thrilled to win a race entry valued at up to $120! Share away! If you don't want a free race entry that's okay, enter to win one of the free t-shirts. Either prize is great! Hurry, the giveaway ends 12/28/2015.

If you haven't read my previous post announcing the giveaway of two- yes you read that correctly- TWO ENTRIES to the Garmin Marathon, Half Marathon or 10K on April 16, 2016, you can find it here.

There is just so much great information that I'd like to share with you about this race. Even if you don't win, you need to register for so many reasons.

First of all the race is well worth the hours of training put in for the swag alone. I know runners who participate in this race (my hand is raised!) simply because the medals rock! I mean it- they are literally like solid rock. They are heavy, quality medals that you will be proud to hang in your collection. The participant shirts are always of high quality too and I wear both of mine from the two years I've participated all the time when I train.

After the race you will be rewarded with FREE BEER, FREE FOOD, a FREE MEAL, a FREE Chiropractic Adjustment, FREE Yoga Stretching by yoga instructors, a FREE MASSAGE by licensed massage therapists... Did you catch that? All of this is FREE to participants!

One of the biggest changes coming is one that has been needed in my opinion. The runners exposition will be getting a much needed shot in the arm (too early for steroid jokes and running?). This year the expo where runners pick up packets and visit venders will be in a 20,000 square foot space where 40+ vendors will be available to give out information and free swag (my favorite part of all race expos!). The expo will be held at the brand new Olathe Conference Center, which is also where the start and finish lines of the race are located.

There are so many excellent reasons to participate in the Garmin Marathon that it's difficult to fit them all in just one article. One reason is that runners get credit for referring other runners. Say what?! Refer just 5 registrants and you earn a free registration to the 2017 event! There are other reward levels for "runner get a runner" promotions that can be found here. 

Don't feel like racing or just have a runner you'd like to cheer on? What better support than volunteering as a course monitor at the race while earning money for a non-profit of your choice. That's right! There are more specific guidelines that can be found here but you and your group could earn up to $500 for a non-profit of your choice! 

Maybe your non-profit doesn't have April 16th available to volunteer? Your group can recruit runners and earn up to $2,500 or more! Pending on what distance your runners choose the amount of money your non-profit receives is impacted, but it can all add up to a lot of money for a good cause.

If you are a qualified veteran, a Military Appreciation discount is offered.

If you own a business and would like to have your company name on those sweet participant shirts, there are various levels of sponsorship that would allow that or other sponsorship choices. If you have a health, sport or like-minded related company and you desire to reach out to race participants you can contact the race for more expo booth information. 

If you aren't convinced to register for or to get involved in this race yet, I would be surprised. Aside from all of the wonderful reasons I've offered, just imagine the sense of accomplishment you will feel after running 6.2, 13.1 or even 26.2 miles! Believe me, the feeling is immeasurable. 

But watch out... it is addictive too... :)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Why I Could Kill You If I Had To (In a Zombie Apocalypse)

A zombie from my favorite TV show.

Yes. You read that correctly.

Please tell me I am not the only person who has had countless detailed conversations with her mother about what she would do if a zombie apocalypse actually happened?

From the Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, iZombie, to Warm Bodies... I am a little obsessed with the undead lately. Mostly because I have nothing to do but watch Netflix as I recover from surgery right now, but I'm not gonna lie... I have been contemplating how I'd respond to this particular cultural shift for some time.

And in the spirit of honesty I'm a little scared out of my mind.

Can you imagine what you would do if humans actually started becoming zombies? This is assuming, of course, that you yourself stayed human long enough to have to figure out how to navigate through this particularly devastating international phenomenon.

Okay, okay... I know this has nothing to do with running. Or parenting. Or my real life. But seriously, this is a thought I am sure many of us have entertained in recent years as television and film have inundated us with the zombie genre. 

This constant exposure has got me asking myself some very biting questions.

Where would I live?
Easy. In a 3-story house on a very small island surrounded completely by a body of fresh water. I would live on the top floor of this big house with lots of bedrooms where my group and I could lock ourselves up individually each night (to prevent us from turning on our loved ones should we become a member of the zombie race while we slept). The house would be tall enough that it would double as a lookout so that my group could easily see outsiders or stray zombies who tried to boat or swim to the safety of our private sanctuary.

Who would I live with?
My husband (if he survived) and my three children would be my emotional picks. But what if I could hand pick the rest of my group by talent? 

First, me. I can run long distances so I would pick myself. I am certain I could outrun hungry zombies for 20+ miles at least if my life depended on it (although persistent, zombies tend to be pretty slow). Therefore my main asset would be that I could contribute long distance travel by foot. Bonus, I am generally positive and sometimes funny so I would provide the social lubricant necessary to lighten the mood, provide optimism, and offer mild comedic relief.

Next pick? Definitely my dear mother. She has watched more zombie, horror and sci-fy movies and/or television shows than any other person I know. She would be our content expert and the leader of the house. Her bonus skill is that she is a registered nurse and could care for our injuries, amputating the occasional zombie-infected limb when needed.

My brother would be included too, assuming he contributed his arsenal of weaponry. He could use his hunting skills to kill-shot prey for eating or to target attacking zombies. Not only a master with weapons, his bonus is that he also has a degree in automotive technology which would be bound to come in handy when trying to get old, broken down vehicles up and running again.

Although technically already included because he is one of my emotional picks, my 7-year-old son would be a no brainer (pun intended). I often tell him that if the world somehow magically turned into a world of Minecraft that he would be my leader. I think his exceptional Minecrafting skills would transfer well to a world where we would literally have to build something from nothing. His bonus, he is small and could fit into a rock and hard place.

I would include others in my group as they came along if they could contribute to or complement these skill sets. But having a close-nit, small group would be vital. However if you think you have what it takes to be included in my group, comment below with your attributes.

I might consider adding you to my group. Seriously.

Where would I get food or water?
Assuming I wasn't craving brains, finding food would be tricky. There would be a flat roof on our tall house where we would grow fresh vegetables and attract and trap birds. We would be surrounded by water so we could boil that and drink it indefinitely. The water might attract wildlife that we could hunt and would likely provide fish. Living on a small island there wouldn't be many other houses to raid for nonperishable foods, so that would be a downside of living in this location. 

Could I kill zombies?
Not at first and not if they were my family members. I would need others to help me out for awhile until I could wrap my mind around the fact that zombies existed and would kill me if I didn't kill them first. Eventually though, I could do it if I had to. I am not very strong so I would need to build physical strength to be able to stab into a brain through a skull, but many zombies after some time would decay and although still undead, their flesh and bone would be easier to break through. I know. Gross. And I can't believe I am actually typing this out either.

Wow. I have thought way too much about this. It's kind of depressing.

If you made it all the way to the end of this article, thank you. I know this isn't typically what you find on my blog and it may be of no interest to you.

But one day you might thank me. 

Reading this article may have just saved your life.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Random Things My kids Have Taught Me

When a child tells you that he has to pee or poop, he really does have to pee or poop; find a bathroom immediately.

Putting ice in your milk completely transforms the taste in a wonderful way.

Naps are underrated, for both my kids and myself.

Paradoxically, sleeping in is overrated.

An empty Kleenex box, Scotch tape, a few sticks from the yard and a couple of markers can make a child just as happy as a new toy does, and is probably played with longer.

It's okay to wear pajama leggings or mismatched shoes to work on occasion.

Coloring in coloring books is actually really fun (and an excellent way to goad compliments out of your children to boost your ego).

Cleaning up other peoples vomit or snot is not nearly as gross as I once thought it was.

Sometimes being late is better than being early.

There are six little eyes and ears watching and listening to everything my husband and I say to one other.

Your own children can say very mean things to you and not mean any of it.

Other children can be mean and make your child cry and you will want to cry too.

Surprisingly many children's books and movies have more hilarious subliminal content geared toward adults than the content geared toward the actual children.

Eating at a fast food joint can be considered the same thing as eating at a restaurant.

"Clean" usually means "clean enough."

Ketchup can be considered the vegetable side dish of a meal.

Spending $60 on a pair of jeans for myself is irresponsible, but spending $60 on new basketball shoes for my son is reasonable.

You can be so completely angry at someone but still love that little human more than your own life.

Morning snuggles might be my favorite thing of all time.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Free Giveaway to Visit Oz (No Twister or Old Farm House Needed!)

*This giveaway has ended and winners have been notified through email.

Me (R) and a friend after the 2014 Garmin
Wickedly Fast Half.

Have you ever wanted to meet Dorothy, Toto, the Lion, the Scarecrow or the Tin Man? Well now you can!

Thanks to the wonderful munchkins at the Garmin Marathon "In the Land of Oz" (Kids Run, 10K, half or full marathons) I am giving away two free entries to the distance of your choice! If you aren't a marathon runner that’s no problem, try the 10K instead. If you want try the half or full marathon (up to a $120 value!) you could run either for free! The best part is that while you participate your children can run in the Kids Run (free also!) so you can make this race a fun, family event.

Why am I so excited about this? There are too many reasons to count. Let me first tell you from experience that this race is located in an awesome city. For me there's no need to click my ruby red shoes to get there because the Garmin Marathon is right in my backyard.

I have participated in the Garmin “Wickedly Fast Half” the last two years. Even though the weather has been much to be desired both times, with rain, hail, more rain and more hail, the race itself, the volunteers, and the after-party have all made it completely worth it. This is always one of my favorite races in comparison to some of the countless other races I have participated in over the years.

At the 2015 Expo.

Another reason for my excitement is that there are some cool new changes this year. Be ready to set your Garmin watch to a new route, as the race is no longer starting or finishing at the Garmin headquarters in Olathe, KS. Instead the route will cover historic and beautiful Olathe as it winds through some of the trails and roads of the city. The specific details will be released very soon but the race will start and finish at new Olathe Conference Center, with the convenience of a hotel located in the center where participants can stay! For the runner who needs an ice bath, a shower, or a bed to collapse in immediately afterward, all can be had at the Embassy Suites attached to the center.

If you win you can count on seeing me there too. I plan to run this race as my first come-back after surgery this winter. Last year the Garmin half was my first race post-stress fracture in my tibia, so it only seems right that it be my first race back again. This year the race is on April 16, 2016 and is an excellent way for you to start your year off right.

So how can you win this amazing giveaway? Enter through the various ways in the Rafflecopter Giveaway on the top of this blog. If you are viewing this article from a mobile device and are having trouble seeing the giveaway at the top of this website, try scrolling down to the bottom of this page and selecting "view as a web version" or using Safari or logging in from a tablet, PC or laptop.

You can enter more than once and even daily if you like. Here is a summary of all the ways to enter (to make it count though you must complete your entries through the actual Rafflecopter giveaway):

1. Comment on my blog post (1 entry)
2. Follow @Mamagottarun on Twitter (1 entry)
3. Follow Mamagottarun on Instagram (1 entry)
4. Visit (and Like please!) the Garmin Marathon Facebook page (1 entry)
5. Follow the Garmin Marathon on Twitter (1 entry)
6. Follow the Garmin Marathon on Instagram (1 entry)
7. Tweet about the giveaway with a link to the Garmin Marathon official website and my blog (Daily entries)

Once the giveaway expires, winners will be notified by me personally through email with more information on how to collect his or her prize.

In addition to two free entrees, a handful of other winners will win free t-shirts from the race last year. How cool is that? Participant shirts are the perfect clothing to train in and to motivate you to work hard toward your running goals. Whether that goal is to finish without walking, to set a PR, or to complete a specific distance for the first time, a free race entry or free training gear is always a good first step.

Hurry this giveaway ends December 28, 2015.

But don't worry if you don't win. You can register for the race at this link. The next price increase isn't until March 6, 2016, so you still have plenty of time to get a good rate.

At the 2015 starting line.

Want to learn more about this race and how wonderful it is? Check out the links below: 

Volunteering & earning money for non-profit - Earn $500 – See this link:
Runner get a Runner promotion – See this link:
Recruit for Non-Profit - Earn $2,500 or more – See this link:
Military Appreciation – Link:
Sponsorship -

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It Is That Time Again:Tips for Setting New Year's Resolutions

Most of us set them.

Some of us call them resolutions, some of us call them goals, and others say they don't partake in this particular cliche (but we all know that deep down, secretly, they do!).

New Year's Resolutions are a human tradition, something inspired by our innate want to better ourselves and change our lives in a positive way. We only have one life after all and one chance to make a lasting impression not only on ourselves, but on those around us.

I like setting goals that will positively impact myself and my family. I like my children to see me working toward goals. I like to inspire them to be better people and to see them see me work toward something that I have to try hard to accomplish. I like to set goals that will make me a healthier, stronger, and overall better wife, sister, daughter, friend and Believer.

I am proof that goal setting and resolution making can be a great tool for bettering your health. I started running about three years ago- did you catch that- THREE YEARS AGO- and look at me now... I love it! I have gone from from barely being able to run a 5k in under 30 minutes, to running half marathons in as low as 1 hour and 52 minutes, to even running a full marathon.

If you set a goal, you can accomplish it.

A recent Timehop memory.

I love making resolutions and no matter what you call them, resolutions, goals, or plans... it doesn't matter. Changing your life in a more productive, focused, healthy and sincere way is vital to living your best life.

So if the idea of setting a goal that you will work on for an entire year scares you, I have some suggestions. Sometimes just knowing how to start can be a challenge to overcome. Although I am still trying to narrow down what my goals will be for the year 2016, I wanted to share some tips that I consider when finalizing my choices:
1. Keep it simple stupid. Yes this is a writing rule you probably learned in high school but it is also important in goal setting. If you goal takes more than a sentence, or maybe two, to explain than it really is more than one goal, and likely too complicated to reasonably accomplish.
2. Don't set more than 2-5 resolutions. If you truly want to work on these goals for an entire year, you can't have too many to start with. A long list can feel overwhelming.
3. Scream your goals loudly. Post them on Facebook, start a blog, or just talk about them with your family or friends. If you tell other people, you will feel obligated to try harder. Make yourself be more accountable. Talking about them may inspire others as well!
4. Start easy. If you have a difficult goal, like to quit smoking, balance it out with a few smaller goals to keep you feeling motivated, like to eat 3 salads per week or to yell at your children less often. Don't make too many really difficult goals or you may find yourself quitting them a few days or weeks into the new year. If you do quit, get back on track and start over. Look at your goal as a war with lots and lots of battles before the end can be achieved.
5. Make a plan. Once you have decided on your goals get out a blank calendar or set future reminders in your phone and set timelines. Decide on rewards for yourself as you accomplish steps toward or milestones of your goal. Find a friend who isn't afraid to ruffle your feathers and ask them in advance of your starting your resolutions to periodically remind you of your goals or to check in on your progress.  
I can't tell you what you should choose, only you know yourself. But do yourself a favor and choose something. Anything. A new year is a great opportunity to start living your life in a way that you can be proud of.

It's time to brainstorm ideas... Comment below on some goals or resolutions you are considering for the year 2016.

Good luck!

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Winter Running Blues

Winter is here. Although we have yet see snow in Kansas City, the cold temperatures and frosty ground are upon us. I am not sure about you but this is the time of year when I struggle to get out of bed in the morning to run, knowing that the temperature outside is going to be sub 30 degrees. 

But winter running doesn't have to mean a cut in your miles. There are some tips and tricks that can help you overcome those cold days.

1. Dress appropriately. Although you want to dress with more warm layers due to the chilly air, don't overdress. After a mile or two your heart rate will increase, you will start to sweat, and you will get too warm too quickly if you have too many layers on. You really don't need more than one layer of long sleeves until the temperature is lower than 40 degrees. I add a layer of long sleeves every 10 degrees after that. At freezing (32 degrees) you will want gloves for your fingers and a hat to cover your ears.
2. Try running later in the day. This is tricky if your work or family schedule isn't flexible, but it is usually a good 10 or more degrees warmer later in the day. If you can, try running in the early afternoon or early evening.
3. Stay hydrated. Even though you are out in the cold, you will still sweat. You will need to replenish your fluids just like you would on a warm day.
4. Be mindful of your steps. Choose shoes that have grips; you can even buy not so attractive grippers that you can adhere to your running shoes if you like. The grass, road and sidewalks are much more slippery so a fall will be more apt to happen and if it does, the ground is now frozen so the landing will hurt more.
5. Stay positive. When you do get out there to run, appreciate the little things. Look for the gleaming reflection of the sun on icicles, try to admire a gorgeous sunset or sunrise, or even take a few moments to simply count the bird nests that are now visible with the disappearance of leaves from the trees. It may be cold outside, but it is still beautiful out there too.

So there you have it. If you do slack on a few runs due to the colder weather, don't be too hard on yourself. Winter season is a downtime for most runners and there aren't as many races to register for anyway. Don't give up; just get back out there as soon as you can.

What do you do to stay motivated in the winter to run? What tips or tricks do you have? Comment below, I'd love to read your ideas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November 2015 Miles Update

2015 Miles in 2015
Traci Kate Brandi
Goal Achieved Goal Achieved Goal Achieved
January 50 59.77 40 30 40 42.72
Februray 50 15.03 45 45.6 50 56.11
March 60 64.33 50 50 60 73.48
April 60 83.51 60 59.12 60 61.92
May 60 69.7 60 40 60 68.6
June 60 60.28 60 25 60 60.2
July 60 108.96 60 66.5 60 65.49
August 60 109.9 60 60.1 60 64.97
September 60 111.6 60 45 60 60.66
October 60 90.13 60 52.2 60 62.15
November 50 50.09 60 55.8 50 54.9
December 50 58 52
Total 680 823.12 673 529.32 672 671.2
Group Total 2023.64
Group Goal 2015
Miles to go 0 (8.64over!)

I am in shock that we only have one month of this challenge to go. I remember last year, just after New Year's Day, reading on some random running website about a challenge where you and your friends could put a team together and make it a goal to collectively run or walk 2015 miles in the year 2015. I remember posting on Facebook, asking anyone if they would be interested in trying to do this with me. Within minutes my dear friends Kate and Brandi replied that they would be. So, with a team of three, we started the challenge the very next day. We all had different goals and reasons for participating, but we all accepted the challenge with excitement.

Now, 11 months later we are still going strong.

I do have to admit that although I did reach my goal of 50 miles this month (50.09 to be exact!), it was not easy. In fact, I got the last 8.3 miles in on the very last day in order to reach my goal. My main reason for slacking was the cold weather, but another significant reason is that my rotator cuff is really bothering me again. Right before Thanksgiving I tripped and fell while running and landed directly, with my full running force propelling me, on my right side, mostly landing on my bad arm/shoulder. I had to take several days off due to the extreme discomfort in my knee and arm from the pain. I did get some strong pain medication from my doctor that has helped, but a week later I still have some pretty nasty scrapes, and my shoulder has still been much more sore than normal. In fact, even typing this blog post makes my shoulder pretty uncomfortable.

For this next month, I had set my December goal of 50 miles at the beginning of the year, not realizing I would be having surgery half way through the month. I am still going to try to reach that goal, but instead of 4 weeks, I only have 2 weeks to do it in. I will update you at the end of the month with my progress.
During a November run.

Here's an update from 2015 Miles team member Brandi Jones.
So just like a race, the finish line is in sight! I’m less than 1 mile away from my 672 mile goal. 671.20/672. November total of 54.90 miles. With having some days off work and miscalculating my miles, I did a dreaded 11 miles on the treadmill to finish up November and didn’t have to. I only needed 7 but it made me mentally stronger. With the winter Iowa weather over half my mile were on the treadmill this month. 

I have major anxiety over the treadmill. I use the treadmill at our local school to run. Their treadmill’s have arms all the way down them so I start to feel very claustrophobic.  Guess that means when I run outside I’m nowhere near running in a straight line. Ha Ha! Anyway only 1 month left to go. Oh! There is a plus side to treadmills….they usually are close to a bathroom J 
Here’s something to reflect on. What will you do to succeed? Who will you help succeed?

Team member Kate had a good month too- in fact- this month she earned more individual miles than Brandi or I did- 55.8! From what I can see in her MapMyRun progress, she was pretty consistent in trying to get more miles in each week, rather than having to work really hard at the end. In talking with her, it sounds, just like many athletes in the off-season, me included- Kate is having a mental struggle. From what Brandi posted about treadmill work, she is too. I think indoor running and walking is much more challenging on the brain, but we are going to overcome this and finish December strong!

I look forward to Kate's end of year summary and can't wait for you to read something from her. She is excited to write about her experience participating in this challenge too. Although she may come short of her overall miles, Kate has set a goal of completing 90% of her miles, or 604.8. This means that she needs 75.8 more miles this month. I am so proud of her and I know that she can do this!

As a team we have exceeded our 2015 miles goal, but that doesn't mean that we stop now. We can still each work to achieve, or come as close as we can to achieving, our individuals goal for December and the year.

Wish us luck!